I got my period back after 11 years of Amenorrhea 🥳🥳🥳
Wow, that feels good to say. I have been waiting for this day for a very very long time and am beyond happy that the day has arrived where I feel I can officially say I AM RECOVERED.
This post is to inspire those of you who have lost their periods that recovery is possible and will happen if you take the steps to nourish, rest, and love your body. If you are thinking thoughts like, "My body is broken, I have gone too far for recovery to be possible, I am doomed to always live with my ed voice" I promise you that I felt every single one of those for after 11 years of stressing and pushing my body to the max. I never thought my body could never get back to balance, I was sure permanent damage was done.
The body is miraculous though and puts up with a lot of S***. I am forever grateful for my body and the things that it can do.
Why/When did I Lose My Period?
At 14 years old I found myself going on my first diet. I wouldn't eat all day in efforts to lose weight to look like the skinny blonde girls in my school. This energy deficit sparked my descent into a vicious dark hole or anorexia nervosa. The once joy and delight I felt around food was quickly turned into terror and fear. Food was my enemy and I did everything in my power to escape its presence.
If I remember correctly it was soon after that my period went MIA as was living in an energy deficit. When the body does not have enough energy intake (food) it will begin to shut down the non-essential functions of the body, the reproductive system. I wish I knew then what I know now about the importance of having a monthly menstrual cycle for bone health, cardiovascular health, brain health, sleep, and fertility. Sadly, I was never taught that my menstrual cycle was my 5th vital sign and that missing it was a big alarm from my body that something was not right.
My eating disorder progressed pretty quickly during high school and I found myself compulsively exercising and religiously restricting to a weight that most 6th graders weigh. I was emancipated, my hair fell out in handfuls (something that is still very traumatic to me today), I slept only 3 hours a night, was cold even in warm weather, experienced hot flashes and night sweats, IBS, was mentally preoccupied and obsessed with food (even though I never ate), was recluse, paranoid (mainly that people were putting butter in my food) and anxious.
Over the years anorexia transformed into Orthorexia and Exercise Bulimia (the purging of food via exercise). I take that back, my eating disorder did not transform, it was still there, and I just added on more disorderedness to it leading to an accumulation of 3 very dangerous eating disorders.
As my body got skinnier and skinnier I wanted to restrict more and more. I was riding the high of energy deficiency, a state wherein those who suffer from eating disorders only find pleasurable. My body becomes numb-- to pain, love, emotion, happiness, and life. I would eat hardly anything all day and exercise for hours on end, always bringing with me a pair of tennis shoes in case I could squeeze in an extra run between school classes. At one point in time, I had a gym membership to 3 different places so that I could go multiple times a day without anyone saying something.
Long story short, I began fearing for my life because I was so frail, my heartbeat so low, my muscles so wasted, and my joi de vie was gone that I knew I had to start the process of recovering.
Like most people coming out of eating disorders, I felt very attracted to the vegan diet. As long as it was vegan (aka was my "safe" foods) then I could eat as much as I wanted. While this did initially help me weight restore to an "acceptable" weight (still way too low), and become a somewhat normal person around food again, this way of eating was just a way for me to restrict large amounts of food, and keep my weight low, in a publicly acceptable way.
My exercise eventually slowed down, although I still went to the gym every day trying to get my "strong not skinny" body. I did become more relaxed about my routine though and allowed my self to skip a day if needed and was able to travel the world and leave my gym for months at a time. Looking back at it I was still doing way too much and highly fatphobic, but it was a radical improvement to my previous routine.
Eventually, it seemed like I was back to normal and people no longer got on me about my food and exercise choices.... Until I turned 25 and had a hard slap from reality.
I still had no period.
My body had accured such a large energy debt from my previous behaviors that unfortunetely was never amended. While I ate enough to maintain functioning daily, I was hardly eating enough to repair all the damage I put my both in during those years of starvation and over-exercising.
While not in a relationship and looking to have kids right now, I one day do want that opportunity.I am thankful the momma bear in me woke up enough to out voice my weight gain fears and eating disorder thoughts. At that time I was experiencing a rapid decline in health and knew instinctively that I needed to eat animal products again to give my body the true nutrition it needed to recover.
I started eating liver, eggs, raw milk, cheese, fish, meat and chicken and dived back into recovery, learning everything I could about amenorrhea. I read the book "No Period, Now What" which shared the science behind why not having a menstrual cycle is very detrimental to one's health and that it was imperative that I get my cycle back as soon as possible.
September--> November I went "half-in", meaning I reduced my exercise a lot, added in nice long walks, skipped gym days, ate an abundance of food and gaining weight. Although I went through a period of extreme hunger, still no period, and instinctively I knew that my body needed more.
I went "all in" on Thanksgiving day--
eating 3000 + calories a day and eliminating all forms of exercise except walking.
Just as fast as I gained weight, I gained life. My friends had a great time sharing with me the pleasures of food. They were there to experience with me my first bites of pizza, s' mores, Oreos, brownies, and bacon in over 10 years. I remember the first night I had real ice cream at a restaurant with some of my closest friends. I took a bite and said, "That vegan S*** has nothing on this" and my friends all looked at me, smiled and said, "welcome back Chlo". That was a moment my mind will forever cherish.
I think that some of the most magical moments of my life were during this time of recovery. The crazy thing is, nothing particularly special happened to me that month. I was in school, still living my pretty regular non-eventful life, and yet everything seemed more vibrant to me-- my senses, my capacity to enjoy pleasure, my emotions, all were awakened.
I started eating dinner with my family every night, went out to restaurants with friends, enjoyed sleeping in and having breakfast in bed, practiced instruments instead of going to the gym, spent most mornings journaling on the beach, reading in the garden and painting in my art studio, hugged my momma 3, 4, 5 times a day, hung out with family in our backyard without worrying about what wasting made in the kitchen and so so so much more.
Christmas rolled around and I felt so grounded and peaceful. I went shopping with my sisters for my first bra, EVER, as my boobs have grown 3 sizes. I donated all my old pants, bought new ones, and began embracing this new womanly, curvy body... and my booty... dang I started embracing my new booty. I remember distinctively during that week my breast were so sore and my face was breaking out, something that never happens.
Then on December 31st after a month and a half of going all in my sweet sweet period came💕
Tears of joy streamed down my face as I peeled off the pad from its backing, stuck it to my panties, flushed the toilet, washed my hands and walked away, forever a changed women.
Benefits of this journey
1. I have no stress or preoccupation about food/meal times
2. My digestion is the best it has ever been
3. I sleep deep, long, + soundly
4. I feel grounded + happy
5. I have boobs :)
6. I feel like a Women
7. I am 1000x more confident
8. I have deeper relationships with others
9. I have a sex drive again, hallelujah
10. I'm not chained to a gym
You may think you're too far but I promise you you're not. The body is amazing and it can and will heal when given the proper rest and nourishment. Treat your body right, eat well, move slowly and practice the art patience ✨
Lost your period + ready to get it back?
1:1 coaching will teach you all you need to know about getting your period back, along with the support you need to stay strong during this journey. Let's work together to heal your relationship to food, quiet your ed voice, reduce exercise without going crazy, develop positive body image and get your period back!
Email email@example.com to schedule your first free breakthrough call!
Much much love